Mr President, eight months ago this House welcomed the positive developments coming out of Cyprus. The Joint Declaration by the leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus marked the relaunch of talks on the reunification of the island which would bring all unresolved issues to the table to reach a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement. Today, a Turkish maritime survey vessel is within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and the reunification talks have been suspended. We risk losing completely the momentum of eight months ago and this would have detrimental consequences, not just for the people living on the island, but it would also negatively affect the entire region.
What the Eastern Mediterranean needs most right now is a beacon of hope. All parties should act with awareness of this responsibility. Turkey must respect Cyprus’s sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone. The legality of the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus cannot be questioned. But it is also important to underline that the conditionality can be put on the right of both communities on the island to benefit from possible gas exploitation.
The leaders of both communities have to return to the negotiation table for a comprehensive settlement to the problem. In this regard the UN Secretary-General’s Adviser for Cyprus, Mr Eide, must be fully supported in his efforts. In the Joint Declaration eight months ago, the leaders of the two communities committed themselves to avoiding blame games. The people of Cyprus and the region now need them to honour this commitment.